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Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1993 Jul;30(4):733-41.

Hox gene expression in differentiating human neuroblastoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University, Chicago IL 60611.


Neuroblastoma, a malignancy of early childhood arises in the embryonal neural crest. Neuroblastoma cells are in a state of arrested differentiation; however, they can be induced to differentiate in vitro by retinoic acid. As a first step toward understanding the molecular mechanisms of neuroblastoma differentiation we analyzed the expression pattern of the developmentally important Homeobox genes in cells treated with retinoic acid. The strategy employed involved rapid screening of a cDNA library prepared from retinoic acid treated human LA-N-5 neuroblastoma cells for Homeobox genes by the polymerase chain reaction. Multiple Homeobox genes were amplified from recombinant phage DNA using degenerate primers directed against the conserved homeobox. To date 6 Homeobox genes (HoxC6, HoxC8, HoxD1, HoxD4, HoxD8, and HoxD9) have been identified in the cDNA library prepared from LA-N-5 cells treated with retinoic acid. HoxD1 and HoxC8 are being reported for the first time to be expressed in neuroblastoma cells. Preliminary studies indicate that there is an induction of Homeobox gene expression in differentiating LA-N-5 neuroblastoma cells.

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